When people think about fighting, they think of Muhammad Ali, Floyd Mayweather, Ronda Rousey, and Conor McGregor. Those are the athletes who have been synonymous with the sport for decades. People see all of the glory, money, and fame that is brought upon these athletes because of their physical and mental prowess in the ring. What people do not see is the hard work and sacrifice that goes into reaching that level. These fighters all started as young amateurs, fighting at arenas with barely any spectators, just trying to earn respect and advance their careers.
The life of an amateur fighter is very intriguing. Amateur fighters have to endure many things and make many sacrifices in order to be successful. The first and maybe the hardest sacrifice that these athletes are in regards to finances. According to combatsportsevents.com, an amateur boxer will make between $4,000 and $10,000 per fight. So, if a fighter fights every four months, that would give them a maximum of $30,000 dollars per year for an income.
Keep in mind, these athletes have to dedicate their full selves to the sport in order to get better. In many cases, fighters cannot afford to get other jobs or find other ways to get income because they are too busy training and getting better. In this case, they really struggle financially to support themselves. This issue is not one that has not been discussed, and there are people who are trying to do everything they can to help the situation. World heavyweight champion and Olympic gold medalist Anthony Joshua has given a good amount of financial backing to the Amateur National boxing federations of England, Wales, and Scotland. The money will be distributed directly to clubs in most need of support through the National federations.
In addition to these athletes struggling financially, they also have to sacrifice another very important thing. Since these boxers are constantly traveling for different fights around the world, they have to sacrifice spending time with loved ones and friends. In addition to this, many of these young fighters have become mothers and fathers and they have to sacrifice seeing their children grow up.
Amateur fighter Raiyan Anwaar said, “You don’t have time to hang out, once you start fighting you don’t really have friends. Your only friends are your training partners.” So not only are these fighters sacrificing spending time with their families, but they also are forfeiting their social lives, which is a huge aspect of life as a young person.
Another factor that makes amateur fighting that much harder is that the sport is largely dominated by men. So for all the real struggles that male fighters face when trying to move up the ranks as a fighter, females have an even more difficult time.
In an article in “The New Yorker”, it is explained that, “Every four years, you’ll see a new crop of top amateur men come up,” Mike Reno, who trains both male and female boxers, said. “Men usually do the best they can until the Olympics, and they either make the Games, or they don’t and decide to make money in the pros.”
But female fighters can’t depend on a living wage if they turn professional. Keisher McLeod won the Daily News Golden Gloves four times before she decided to turn pro. “My last fight was a world title, and the purse was two thousand dollars,” she said. “I’m a world champion, and that’s what I’ve gotten for ten professional rounds!”
Lastly, and perhaps one of the most pressing issues that amateur fighters face is that with the length of time that it takes to gain true success, these fighters are putting their bodies on the line for years. Now, of course, there is a risk that is taken when entering this sport. However, because it takes so long to get to the top, as well as these fighters struggling financially, it does not seem fair that some of these fighters can become permanently damaged because of the sacrifices that they are making.
There are so many issues that come with the life of an amateur fighter. Perhaps they are issues that cannot be solved with one solution. However, it is definitely important that people note the hard work and sacrifice that it takes to be entertained by these amazing athletes.